Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Only One Race to Run

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:14 NLT)

When we’re running the race of life, our competition is not with each other. The goal is not to outrun someone else. The goal is to outrun the wicked influences that could bring us down.

So, what race should we run? The race that is set before us. We are not to concern ourselves with who is behind or ahead of us. We are to run the race that is set before us. 

The apostle Paul, who had walked with the Lord for years, made this statement: “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. . . . No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:12-14 NLT).

God has called each of us to run our own race. An incident from the life of Peter illustrates this truth. After Peter had been restored following his denial of the Lord, Jesus said, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17 NLT). Then Jesus went on to tell Peter how his life would end.

As they were talking, Peter noticed someone was behind them: the apostle John. So, Peter said, “What about him, Lord?” (verse 21 NLT). In other words, “Lord, You told me to follow You and that I am going to die for the faith. And I am willing to do that. But what about John?”

Jesus told him, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me” (verse 22 NLT). Jesus was saying, “Peter, it’s none of your business. You just do what I’ve told you to do.”

Like Peter, we might be tempted to say, “What about so-and-so? Why have I had this setback in my life and they haven’t? Why has this tragedy befallen me, and it has not come to them?”

That is not your concern. You are to deal with what God has allowed in your life. You are to run your race and keep your eyes on Jesus. Seeing Jesus gave the young martyr Stephen the ability to run his race and finish it. And seeing Jesus gave Simon Peter the ability to step out of the boat and walk on the water.

In fact, the Bible says that Jesus “lives forever to intercede with God on [our] behalf” (Hebrews 7:25 NLT). Circumstances will disappoint and, at times, devastate us. People will let us down and fall short of our expectations. Feelings will come and go. But Jesus always will be there with outstretched arms, saying, “Come on, you can do this. You can live this life. You can finish this race. I am here with you. Let’s do it.”

Are you running the race of life as well as you ought to? Or, are you just offering a half effort?

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